This article analyzes, for the first time, the lexicographic construction of gender in more recent editions of German dictionaries (from 1980 onwards). The article starts by presenting a survey of studies on this topic in other languages (French, Swedish, English). Then the dictionary entries of Frau ‘woman’ and Mann ‘man’ are scrutinized with respect to their definition(s), their structure, and their use in sentences of exemplification. The study shows that a surprisingly high degree of stereotypes still exists, including grammatical differences such as men occurring more frequently in subject positions and women dominating in object positions. While some dictionaries represent clear progress with respect to the representation of gender over time, others are dominated by androcentric attitudes.
The journal Zeitschrift für germanistische Linguistik (Journal of German Linguistics) explores the German language in its various manifestations, past and present. It publishes essays, discussions, reports on important developments, and commentary on selected books, with a key focus on standard modern usage.